One of the most common measures that employers take when looking to improve the wellbeing of their staff is the provision of ‘all-inclusive’ benefits packages. These packages may include discounts, wellness programs, learning opportunities and other employee perks.

Such packages can carry a number of advantages. They may provide employees with access to a wide range of benefits, leading to higher job satisfaction, improved morale, increased productivity, and improved health- all of which can contribute to a positive work environment.

However, all too often you’ll find these referenced in recruitment materials as ‘a comprehensive benefits package’ with little further or detail or clarity on what is included. While this may sound like an attractive offering to recruitment prospects, In many cases, such individuals will face disappointment when they realise that all they are being offered is essentially a ‘tick box’ exercise in the form of a platform that provides staff with discounts that they could quite easily obtain, anyway, elsewhere.

A special offer on a weekly meal kit?

2 for 1 cinema tickets?

Half price takeaways on a week night?

I think we’ve all seen these offers outside of our working lives.

Of course, there are some great, inclusive benefits providers out there. But are they truly generating the engagement that we’d hope for amongst our employees?

According to a recent Vitality Survey, only 25% of individuals actually used the wellbeing measures offered to them by their employer. However, of those who did use their available benefits, 85% found them useful. There is clear potential, then in terms of being able to boost staff wellbeing through a good benefits provision.

Here at Hussle, we see engagement levels as high 37% amongst employees when companies partner with us as a dedicated fitness benefit provider. This engagement rate is for one standalone benefit, not the total uptake levels for a full portfolio of packages.

In the remainder of this article, we’ll explore the advantages of offering individual fitness benefits, and run a comparison to more traditional approaches.

Why should you consider fitness benefits for your employees?

  • They are very popular! In a recent survey, 63.1% of respondents said that gym access was their number one choice of corporate benefit, with 72% saying that they wanted access to multiple venues.
  • They help improve productivity! Even engaging in short sessions of gentle exercise is associated with productivity increases as high as 30%.
  • Fitness is a powerful stress reduction tool. By reducing levels of the body’s stress hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol) and stimulating the release of endorphins (natural mood elevators), activity helps take care of our mental wellbeing. So much so that those who exercise experience 40% fewer poor mental health days than those who do not.
  • Physical activity, of course, supports our physical health, too. It can reduce the chances of developing musculoskeletal problems, commonly associated with those highly sedentary and more physically demanding roles.
  • As fitness perks are so popular and beneficial, by offering them you’ll also help attract and retain top talent.

What are the advantages of individual fitness benefits over fitness perks offered as part of an ‘all inclusive’ benefits package?

Even if the perks offered within an ‘all inclusive’ package are actually quite good, the amount of choice available can actually confuse employees. It’s impossible for any employer to actively and sufficiently promote each individual benefit. This means, in practice, the uptake levels of each constituent part are relatively low.

Many providers do include a gym offer, but these tend to be with no more than just a few individual gym operators. Modern working practices mean that almost any employer will have employees commuting within quite a large catchment area, or, increasingly often, working from home and on a hybrid basis. While traditional gym discounts may help reach some employees, they tend to be quite limited in terms of locations, meaning that average uptake levels can be as low as 5%.

One of the biggest advantages of working with a specialist fitness benefit provider such as Hussle is the extensive coverage that we can bring. Rather than offering discounts to just a single gym chain, multi-gym benefit partners such as us can enable employees to access fitness venues, no matter their location. Hussle partner with 1,500+ gyms, pools and spas across the UK, meaning that employees at participating companies can access fitness close to work, home and also when they are traveling. For this reason, we help companies to achieve uptake levels averaging 20%, and as high as 37% in some cases.

Barbara Solis, HR Manager at Huntsman Savile Row, has recently spoken very positively around the impacts that Hussle’s fitness benefits have had within her organisation:

Our shop workers spend most of their time standing on their feet, which can be physically taxing. We used to offer on-site pilates sessions, but these became less popular over time, with a participation rate of less than 10%.

To provide a more inclusive approach, we partnered with Hussle. The launch of the initiative was met with enthusiasm, and approximately 25% of our workforce signed up within the first month. Thanks to the variety that the offering brings, we can support a full range of fitness preferences – whether someone wants to go and pump some iron in the gym, go for a swim, or even just relax in the sauna for 15 minutes after work, it’s a really good way to help them unwind.

Another factor that influences the high participation rate is the level of discount that we offer to our clients. Depending on the exact arrangement, we partner with organisations to enable their staff to have access to discounts of between 60 and 100% across our entire network of venues. This is in comparison to the discounts of no more than 40% typically offered by the ‘all inclusive’ benefits platforms. Hussle memberships also have no contracts for employees, they can cancel their membership at any time, and we also require no inductions or joining fees. Fitness benefits as part of a larger overall package tend to have minimum ‘lock-in’ terms.

As a specialist fitness provider, we take some extra steps to ensure that your company benefits fully from our offering. Hussle provide a dedicated HR portal, enabling you to gain valuable insight into how many passes are being purchased by your employees on a month-on-month basis. You’ll also have access to a dedicated account manager to ensure that you have all that you need to make the most of your benefit.

We’re also here to support you in encouraging your employees to stay active. Our employees are all fitness fanatics, so we have a wealth of advice to share around the benefits of fitness on workplace performance, as well as countless tips and ideas for those looking to embark on a new fitness regime. As part of this, we’ll share a portfolio of marketing materials to help you promote the offering internally – after all, a well-marketed benefit is a well-used benefit!

As Hussle is so cost-effective, and prices are based on the number of employees who take part, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an ‘either-or’ decision. If you are seeing good results from other benefits provisions (they aren’t all bad), that’s great. You can keep this in place, but consider adding a specialist fitness provider, for all of the above reasons, and more, to enable your staff to truly bring the benefits of fitness to work.